Saint Lane Reflects on ‘Worst Year,’ Prepares For a Great One With ‘When Did We Grow Up’: Exclusive Premiere

Saint Lane
Ella Fitzgerald

Saint Lane

Saint Lane is overdue some good luck. In 2019, the Gold Coast-based rapper lost his dad, and had a painful experience with three friends which, as a result, he no longer calls “mates”.

Last year was “the worst year of my life,” he admits.

And this year, well, it’s bad for everyone.

Lane was traveling in Canada when the coronavirus emergency was upgraded to a pandemic, and on his return to Australia, Lane was quarantined in a room for two weeks.

As creatives tend to do, he used his time to make stuff. With a mic and a laptop, he reached out to musician and comedian friends, including Lime Cordiale and Hayden James, for a special isolation podcast.

One of his amusing go-to questions was a gag about locating the cure for coronavirus (it's always plain sight, just to your left). Those words “cure” and “coronavirus” apparently fell foul with the social platform’s algorithms and Lane’s witty interviews were blocked behind some faceless software.

He laughs about it now. “If it wasn’t quarantine time, I’d be so annoyed. But because I had nothing to do anyway, I just figured I’d to go back to playing video games.”

Lane makes his own luck with “When Did We Grow Up,” his new single which Billboard premieres today.

It’s a deeply personal song, which he was moved to make after the betrayal by those close to him. ”I knew these people will never apologize so I apologized to myself on their behalf so I could move on with my own path,” he explains. “It's my mostly deeply personal track but I feel like I am ready to live with my truth and set this track free into the world."

The new song has a warmth and generosity to it, and features vocals from indigenous artist Robbie Miller, an APRA and triple j Unearthed National Indigenous Music Award winner who Lane describes as an “important voice in Australian music” and the “missing piece to the puzzle.”

“When Did We Grow Up” also showcases Lane’s talents on guitar, an instrument he learned at age five when his maternal grandfather, from Suva, taught him scales. “Taxman” by The Beatles was the first song he mastered. “Everyone thought I was going to be a musical genius,” he quips. “But I peaked at guitar at seven. I’m as good now as I was then.”

Don’t believe it. Lane studied at the Queensland Conservatorium, earning entry as a bass player.

Born in New Zealand to Fijian and French parents, Lane has solid support for his tracks "Hickeys" and "The Family" on such platforms as triple j, The Guardian and GQ.

Lane admits he’s an eclectic character, and it shines through in his music. “When Did We Grow Up” and “Hickeys” should appear on his full-length LP, which will be titled If I leave You In The Fire.

“I’ve had an album in the works for a very long time,” he tells Billboard. Expect some "unexpected" collaborations, including a cut with rising singer Maxine Champion.

Australia, like elsewhere, is in lockdown and many artists are mulling over whether to delay their releases until life returns to normal. Not Lane. “It had better come out this year,” he says with a laugh. “I’m super proud of it.”

"When Did We Grow Up" drops Friday (May 22) on digital music services via Risqué Music.

Stream it below.